Batter-UP—If You Got the Money… Hello weekend readers. We turn the calendar page to March and there it is: a new month of 31 days heading for the MLB’s Spring Training in Arizona. Flocks of baseball folks are headed here to watch their favorite teams. I enjoyed the games but not so much now because the cost is outrageous! The other day our local news station rattled off the costs for the game, parking, and if out of state, flights and hotels/Airbnb/car rentals, etc. The projection of people is huge and a boom to our economy, but sadly, there is another side that is not so very good: without the wealth needed for this, you are “batter out” as they say.

A good writer friend of mine, Brenda Yoder, shares this interesting story and with her permission, I share it with you all because the envy of wealth today changes everyone and often, it is a deadly pursuit not only on finances, but mental health, and family break-ups.

“YOU ARE SO RICH. I envy you,” our Airbnb guest gushed as her husband packed their car. The comment caught me off guard. As new empty nesters, we enjoy hosting guests in our ‘now-vacant spaces’, but our home is not what I call grand. It is a modern farmhouse with no-frills amenities, less-than-perfect paint jobs, and a few scratches on the doors. What is interesting is that many of our guests say the same. They remarked about the richness of our surroundings after sitting on the front porch and watching horse-and-buggy travel by as they often do in our neighborhood. The nearby cornfields and pastures with Holstein cows and fainting goats must appear idyllic to a visitor. To us, well, honestly, it’s just home!

But wait, hear my story out. I didn’t admit to the lady that for years I’d envied others who had fancier homes and more lucrative lifestyles. For most of our married life, my husband, and I have lived modestly as we’ve raised four kids on a limited budget. Simple living is the norm for our rural, Amish and Mennonite community. Our family grows a big garden and preserves vegetables, and we do lots of things the old-fashioned way. So, it was eye-opening to hear another person’s viewpoint about a life I’ve often wanted to escape.

When I told my husband what she said, he paused for a moment and said, “Honey, this is a wake-up call from Jesus. He is allowing us to see our possessions with a perspective not tainted by jealousy or discontentment.” His words reminded me that I had taken the simplicity of our lifestyle for granted rather than embracing its richness.

So what do we do about the envy of wealth? Like Brenda, we have to decide what wealth really means to us. In Proverbs 10:22 [ERV] we find the meaning of wealth: “It is the Lord’s blessing that brings wealth, and no hard work can add to it.” In other words, it’s not us who creates wealth, it is the wealth from God first!

Another reminder of wealth comes from Psalm 23—the very opening of this beloved chapter in the Scriptures, where King David penned: “Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need!” [TLB] In fact, the entire Psalm is all about provision from God so we don’t have to worry about money—or anything else!

Those words in Proverbs above, “no hard work can add to it” is another reminder that wealth from God is a gift and no matter what we try to add to it will fail. So yes, some people are wealthy and some are not—but that is more about money instead of the wealth of God’s provision for each one of us. It is when we cultivate the society’s idea that you have to purchase the latest thing, the biggest house, the fanciest car and so on, that we are trapped in a money game that has nothing to do with the true wealth God gives us.

Brenda ended her story by saying, “It took the envy of another to see the wealth I had all along.” How about us, what wealth are we not looking at? I’ll end with an encounter I had the other day. I saw a homeless young man with a puppy. I asked how I could help and he said, “Someone threw this puppy out the window and luckily I caught it. Who could do such hateful things like this? This puppy never hurt someone, it just is there to help someone, like me. Now I have a new friend, and he loves me. Miss, I may not be rich with money but I am now rich with love.” Nuff said. AMEN.